15 of LA’s Hottest Emerging Food and Beverage Companies

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The emerging food companies of LA represent many of the hottest trends in the industry, but they’re also so much more. The City of Angels has produced some of the hottest independent food and beverage makers of 2019!

These startups are innovating everything from their molds to their distribution strategies, and they’re making just about everything from plants. And in true LA fashion, they’ve hustled hard: their products have showed up at Starbucks, Safeway, Trader Joe’s and in-person at events like Smorgasburg LA.

They’ve got big shoes to fill: the city has watched homegrown Sweetgreen, Snacknation, and Health-Ade Kombucha become big businesses.  

Add that to the fact that LA is becoming ground zero in the cloud kitchen movement, and you can see why LA is home to a wide array of innovative food and beverage makers.

Here is our list of the most essential LA food and beverage makers — get to know ’em, and let us know if we missed your favorite.

Please click to enlarge. Created in March 2019 by Foodboro staff and friends.

(Note: As we built this graphic, we looked at new food and beverage of all shapes and sizes in the greater Los Angeles area who were pushing boundaries and innovating. ‘New’ was loosely defined as three years old or less. We researched over sixty companies, and these are the fifteen we felt best represented where the LA food & beverage scene is 2019.)

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Company : Instagram : Product Type

Bright Foods (@eatbrightfoods): Bar

Think of these bars as cold-pressed juice in whole form. Bright is part of an emerging trend of marketing and retailing energy bars outside the bar aisle, like Perfect Bar.

Dream Pops (@dreampops): Plant-Based Frozen Dessert

Dream Pops isn’t your average popsicle: they 3-D print the molds for their signature treats.  These pops burst onto the scene last summer when they showed up for sale at various Starbucks locations throughout LA. And now they’re available by subscription anywhere!

Fat Dog Jams (@fatdogjams): Artisanal Jam

These makers utilize excess fruit from local farmers to create a hand-made small-batch jam.  If you live within a 20-mile radius of the founders they will deliver it to you free.  They might even show up with, Lewis, their beloved “fat dog” and jam mascot.* 

Gem (@daily_gem): Food Vitamin

emerging food companies

Female-led functional food company out of Venice that that packages up a real food vitamin specifically designed for women. They ship directly to your door each month!

Habanero Cartel’s Kill Sauce (@killsauce): Hot Sauce

Shrouded in mystery, the Habanero Cartel allegedly started making their Kill Sauce in Los Angeles at some point in 2013.  What we do know is their mission: to create a simple, delicious, and versatile hot sauce using all natural ingredients and keeping it low in salt and sugar.

(P.S. A logo that’s a play on the ol’ masking-tape-and-sharpie label? It’s a yes from us.)

Hakuna Banana  :: @itshakunabanana ::  Non-Dairy Ice Cream

emerging food companies in LA

Straight outta LA Prep (now Amped Kitchens), this banana based non-dairy ice cream is made with no refined sugars.  The company has more than 9 flavors of vegan, non-GMO, plant-based ice cream in a variety of formats, including pints, novelty bars and soft serve.

K Pop! Foods (@kpopsauces): Korean Sauces

emerging food companies in LA

K Pop! is founded by a pair of Korean-Americans, Theo Lee & Mike Kim, who met in business school. K Pop! is inviting people to discover and enjoy Korean flavors through its products. Their flagship KPOP Sauce is based on a 70 year old secret recipe created by Theo’s grandma.

Kumana Foods (@kumanafoods): International Sauces

emerging food companies in LA

Kumana was co-founded by Fransisco Pavan, who emigrated to the US from Venezuela, where avocado-based sauce is a popular condiment. He started sharing avocado sauce with friends and family, then moved on to the LA market scene, and got the attention of Kraft Heinz when the company was invited to the Springboard accelerator.  You can find Kumana at Safeways on the West Coast.

Mood33 (@mood33infusions): Cannabis Beverage

emerging food companies in LA

The CBD & THC market is TBD (sorry) in some ways, but that doesn’t mean companies have stopped innovating. Developed under Beyond Brands, Mood33 contains both THC and CBD and can only be purchased in dispensaries in California.  The group previously developed a CBD-only infused drink, but federal regulatory issues caused them to pivot. Cannabis products can not be shipped across state lines, but Mood33 claims they will eventually license their branding and formulations to other states with legal cannabis.

Pocket Latte (@pocketlatte): Edible Coffee Bar

emerging food companies in LA

Ready-to-eat coffee bars that are caffeinated and flavored with real coffee. Zero prep, zero spill risk, zero queuing up for coffee! Edible drinks are out to prove convenience is indeed king.*

Seven Teas (@seventeas): Bottled Tea

Two brothers with a passion for connecting the world through tea. Seven unique flavors, each with an authentic cultural story. Not every brand has such a commitment to the heritage of a product, but this one does! Exotic flavors include Guava Mango Guayusa and Goji Hibiscus Rooibos.

Soca Food (@socafood): plant protein thins

emerging food companies in LA

Not quite a cracker and not quite a chip, Soca is something better. These plant-based snacks want to replace your unhealthy choices with a protein-packed alternative (15g per serving!). Not too shabby.

Spero Foods (@sperofoods): Plant-Based Protein

emerging food companies in LA

Chronic illness and the discovery of plant-based foods as a cure led Spero’s founder, Phaedra Randolph, on a mission to make delicious and sustainable alternatives to eggs and dairy. Scrambled eggs made from pepitas? You’ve got to try to believe.

The Dirty Cookie (@thedirtycookieoc): Specialty Dessert 

Shahira Mahei is a former aerospace project manager who wanted to launch a fun, authentic business. Thus, the Dirty Cookie was born, combining all your favorite things about your after-school snack into a cookie shot glass. Cookies shaped into tiny cups, lined with chocolate, and filled with milk or ice cream.

Vive Organic (@vive_organic): Wellness Shots

 

Vive Organic is feeding Los Angeles the probiotics, nutrients and energy they demand. Started by three entrepreneurial friends in search of a quick, healthful pick-me-up, Vive Organic uses ultra-clean ingredients, and donates to non-profits that clean up plastic waste for each bottle they sell. 

*Can be found at Smorgasburg LA every Sunday, 10AM – 4PM in DTLA.

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